Impeachment Trial Continues, ‘Remain In Mexico’ Program One Year Later, 53rd Congressional Candidates And Human Rights Watch Film Festival Preview
KPBS Midday Edition / January 30, 2020
Speaker 1: 00:00 Today, the Senate moves into its second and perhaps final day of senators asking questions of the house managers and president Trump's legal team. They began on Wednesday with eight hours of questions alternating between Democrats and Republicans today. Another eight hours of senators writing their questions on glorified index cards, which are then read aloud by chief justice John Roberts. A decision on whether to call witnesses will probably come tomorrow. Joining us to talk about all of it is legal analyst Dan Eaton and Dan, welcome. Thank you. Good to be with you in what today differ at all from yesterday with the back and forth questioning by the senators. Thought really what uh, what's interesting about, uh, what happened, uh, yesterday is that, uh, the, uh, Democrats and the Republicans alternated question. So often when, uh, a, an answer was given to one side's question, uh, that, uh, the other side didn't like that they asked the other side to, uh, they asked the other side's lawyers to respond to that.
Speaker 1: 00:59 Now understand the lawyers only had five minutes. So some of what the lawyer said sometimes, uh, was, uh, taken out of context perhaps or, or was easy to misunderstand. And what are some of the standout moments to you from yesterday's questioning? Well, the stand out moments obviously were some of the questions that, uh, focused on, uh, what the president said. Why did he say it? There was the obvious standout moment where a Senator Ted Cruz, the Republican of Texas a ask whether as a matter of law, a quid pro quo for political favors could be considered an impeachable offense, which led, uh, Alan Dershowitz, the president's lawyer to say no. Under no circumstances could a, a, a quid pro quo for the purposes of furthering a president's desire to be reelected, a basically a political interest if it was any part of the consideration, be considered an impeachable quid pro quo.
Speaker 1: 01:51 And, you know, chief justice Roberts actually did more than read the questions out when it came to the question from Senator Rand Paul, right? Yeah. Rand Paul, of course, is the Republican from, uh, Kentucky. And, uh, what ran Paul's question, uh, wanted to do, uh, was to, uh, ask, uh, that V a whistleblower be named. That was one of the issues that the question had in it. Uh, the alleged whistleblowers name chief justice Roberts had made it clear that he was not going to, uh, give a question, uh, that, uh, identified the still at least officially on named a whistleblower that led to these impeachment proceedings. And you mentioned Dershowitz. What's your take on the argument he made that as long as the president thinks it's in the country's best interest, uh, he can pretty much do whatever he wants in regard to his campaign for reelection.
Speaker 1: 02:44 His argument, Jade was actually a little more nuanced than that, but not much. What he said was that it is not a quid pro quo impeachable offense if the president, uh, asked for a favor, uh, in the interest of securing his, uh, reelection, which is a, uh, political, uh, interest that the president given his broad sweep of power over foreign policy, uh, and his right to conduct politics in the name of foreign policy, uh, can do. Uh, the problem is there's really no limiting principle to what professor Dershowitz said because it wouldn't be limited of course, to a president seeking reelection. What if this happened in a president's second term when he wasn't eligible for reelection? It could a president engaged in the same kind of behavior on the argument that it is in his interest, uh, to keep and maintain office through the end of his second term or in the national interest for him to keep and maintain office through the end of the second term.
Speaker 2: 03:42 Hmm. And you know, I suppose it's different from Senator to Senator, but generally, how much do you think you can read into a senator's thinking from the text of their question? Well
Speaker 1: 03:54 gives you some sense of at least, Oh, what, uh, they are concerned about. For example, you had the Collins Murkowski question about, uh, whether, uh, the, uh, information from Bolton's unpublished book had been reviewed by, uh, by, uh, the president and the president's lawyer responded that no one, uh, outside of the, uh, NSA had reviewed the entire transcript. But that still begs the question about whether other information or other warnings about what was in the transcript, uh, were, uh, disseminated to those outside of the national security council. And that was a question that was left unanswered. But it's just there are some serious concerns and Mitt Romney's question about, uh, the exact date, uh, that the president did. Certain things suggest that there is some concern that maybe all the information is not out there, but ultimately this is all going to come down to a, whether a four or more Republican senators think there is a need for, uh, further witnesses or document.
Speaker 2: 04:52 Hmm. And what can we expect tomorrow from the Senate?
Speaker 1: 04:55 Tomorrow was a big day because of course, today is just the rest of the, uh, senatorial, uh, questioning. Tomorrow we will actually learn, uh, whether a majority of the Senate wants, uh, additional, uh, witnesses and documents. If the answer is no, you can expect that there will be a quick, uh, vote on, uh, acquittal or conviction. But there, there's no question that the president ultimately B will be acquitted even if there are more witnesses. Uh, the only question is whether that happens tomorrow or sometime next month.
Speaker 2: 05:27 So will we know what the senators will be basing their decisions on tomorrow?
Speaker 1: 05:33 For some of them we will because they will say so they will make a statement before the United States Senate on the floor. But the interesting thing is they, unlike judges don't have to explain the reasoning for their decisions, jurors generally don't honor their absent as special verdict form a is to explain why they're reaching the decision they are reaching. And that's going to be the interesting thing. That's why when you hear talk about Dershowitz arguments about the abuse of power and quid pro quo never being an impeachable offense, that doesn't necessarily mean that that is what ultimately will drive the vote on whether to equip the president of United States of the articles of impeachment under which he is going trial of right now. Hmm. And there are still two Republican senators who are undecided. Correct. It's not entirely clear. I guess you would have to look at the count of a Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader of Kentucky, who is a famously, uh, great, uh, vote counter. Uh, I think you would have to look at his card to see where his caucus actually is. And if it's only two Republican senators that are interested in witnesses, there will be no witnesses. And you can expect a very Swift acquittal of the president, uh, tomorrow, just in time for his state of the union address. Next week I have been speaking with legal analysts, Stan Eaton and Dan, thank you so much for joining us. Good to be with you. Jade.
Speaker 1: 00:00 In the first year of the migrant protection protocols program. 60,000 asylum seekers have been sent back to Mexico while their claims wind through the immigration system. A group gathered in downtown San Diego yesterday to Mark the one year anniversary of the program. KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler spoke to those at the event in downtown San Diego yesterday and joins us now to discuss the policy. Max, welcome. Hi. Tell me a bit about yesterday's event. Who was there and what was the general message?
Speaker 2: 00:30 Yesterday's event featured immigrant advocates, lawyers who work in immigration court system as well as an asylum seeker who had been placed in the remain in Mexico program themselves and their general message of course was to end the program as soon as possible. They highlighted all of the issues that they have found with the problem that stand in the way of people from actually pursuing their asylum claims. This includes not having access to a lawyer while they're staying in Mexico. Dangerous conditions in Tijuana and along other border towns along the Southern border, as well as the basic counterfeit court dates that have been given to them by department of Homeland security employees. These are basically flagrant violations of due process in the eyes of the advocates and one that is standing in the way of what had been an asylum system that wasn't all that forgiving to begin with.
Speaker 1: 01:21 And can you give us some background on the remain in Mexico policy? How did, how did it come about?
Speaker 2: 01:27 So the remained in Mexico policy was first kind of announced by former department of Homeland security secretary Kirsten Nielsen. And the idea was to cut down on what the Trump administration had turned to catch and release. This is the fact that if somebody comes across the border with a family due to a series of federal court rulings, they can't be held for longer than 72 hours or a few days in custody by ice or by customs and border protection. So individuals, while their asylum claims are winding through the courts, which could take years, were residing in the U S and starting their lives. Getting jobs. Some of them were finding work permits, things like that. This had really stuck with the Trump administration, which had parroted again and again that people weren't showing up to their court dates. Uh, they were actually in, in large numbers, but they instituted the remain in Mexico policy to disincentivize people from crossing over the border in large numbers. At first, people really didn't believe that Mexico would go along with this because you're essentially sending back thousands of migrants to these border towns which are not in the best of shape to begin with and are relatively strapped for resources. What ended up happening is Mexico did agree to this at first in a limited capacity saying we're just going to take back, um, single adults. Then it became families and now it is not only families who speak Spanish but just announced yesterday, it's been expanded to Brazilians who speak Portuguese and not Spanish.
Speaker 1: 02:56 How is it determined whether or not an asylum will be sent
Speaker 2: 03:00 to Mexico to await asylum under the program? They are screened at the port of entry by customs and border protection officials as well as asylum officers. For the most part, what asylum seekers have been reporting is that this has been done haphazardly. Um, they're asked if they fear returning to Mexico, they might say yes, they might say no, they're given semi fraudulent court dates because the main thing is that Mexico will not accept, uh, an asylum seeker back into Mexico without seeing that they have a piece of paper with a court date back in the U S so quite often border patrol or anyone they interact with at the port of entry, we'll give them a court date, but that might not match up with what's happening at the immigration court, which is run by the department of justice. So the first interaction that asylum seekers have are incredibly haphazard and it's not clear how this is being applied to each specific family or what rules are being given to these officers. How has this policy impacted asylum seekers? So the asylum seekers themselves have often spoken about being placed in a direct danger when there were turned back to Mexico. They even have kidnappers waiting in these border towns when they're being returned by ice or CBP. Um, this is one woman whose name was Gabriela, who she had just been removed from the remain in Mexico program. After waiting over six months in Tijuana.
Speaker 3: 04:35 [inaudible]
Speaker 4: 04:36 my son asked me, mom, what comes next? We had no family in P Warner. We had no one that could go pick us up.
Speaker 2: 04:43 People are unfamiliar with this program. They don't know Tia Kwana. They're from central America. Um, they are facing incredible amounts of danger. This woman, Gabriela, Oh, the husband of a woman she was staying with was murdered while she was there. Um, there was a Salvador and man in Tijuana a few weeks ago who was murdered, who had been returned to Mexico while awaiting his court date. Um, there have been over 800 documented, um, assault kidnappings, uh, violent acts against asylum seekers, well in these border towns. So it is deeply unsafe for them according to their reports. What do the immigration judges and asylum officers say about the policy? So both the association of retired immigration judge and the asylum officers union have said that they are in opposition to this program because it directly contradicts their mission as asylum officers and immigration judges to make sure that if somebody has a valid asylum claim or a strong fear of being harmed, that they don't then go ahead and put them directly in harm harm's way. Here's Nicole Ramos, she's a lawyer with the ELO throw lotto organization, which provides legal assistance to asylum seekers in Tijuana. If the migrant protection protocols
Speaker 5: 05:58 was designed to ensure asylum seekers arrived to their court proceedings, we would not have us customs and border protection officers turning away asylum seekers at the port of entry who have arrived with notices to appear in immigration court causing them to not appear, obtain orders of removal due to their absence and have their cases closed.
Speaker 2: 06:21 Yeah. So she's again explaining how difficult it is for anybody to navigate this, especially because almost, I think the last numbers were just over 1% of people actually had a lawyer and I've sat an immigration court in downtown San Diego and it is incredibly rare to see anybody who has a firm grasp of what's happening or what's being asked of them while they sit in these, um, small immigration court rooms. And on top of that, there were requirements like things like a certified English translations. They people don't have access to those in Tijuana and they're not allowed to enter the U S to take care of that. The program is currently being challenged in federal court. Where does that case stand? So there was a injunction that was placed, Oh, almost a year ago. Right after this went into effect that was then stayed by the ninth circuit pending oral arguments.
Speaker 2: 07:12 And right now the case is being challenged in the ninth circuit. Oral arguments in that case were heard over three months ago. So people have been waiting for this argument for, you know, the results of this argument and this ruling for months now, uh, many, many lives hang in the balance. And even if the ninth circuit were to go ahead and say, this is illegal, of course, uh, the Supreme court can always step in like it did recently on the public charge rule, uh, effecting people trying to get their green cards. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter max Rivlin Adler. Max, thank you so much for joining us. Thanks
Speaker 3: 07:50 [inaudible].
Speaker 1: 00:01 Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis. Surprised many. When she announced last year. She was retiring from her 53rd district seat, but it didn't take long for more than a dozen candidates to jump into the race to take her place. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman introduces us to some of the candidates looking to fill her seat.
Speaker 2: 00:20 The 53rd congressional district covers a large part of the County, including sections of San Diego, El Cahone and Chula Vista.
Speaker 3: 00:26 I joined the Marine Corps, earn the rank of captain and deployed as a combat engineer.
Speaker 2: 00:30 Credit candidate. Janessa gold Beck left the Marine Corps in August and before that was a human rights advocate. Gold Beck says voters are most worried about the high cost of housing.
Speaker 4: 00:38 That experience of trying to find a place to live and be able to afford a a neighborhood with a good schools and access to easy transportation. You know, that's, that's tough for a lot of people. I think people are concerned about that. I'm also hearing a lot of folks talk about the climate crisis in California and San Diego especially. We are at the forefront of feeling the effects of climate change, whether it's wildfires in our canyons and uh, right up the road or the effects of coastal, uh, rising sea levels on our coastal communities and our installations.
Speaker 2: 01:08 Gold also says her votes in Congress won't be bought by big donors.
Speaker 4: 01:11 The reason why Congress hasn't been able to make progress on issues that a lot of Americans care about and agree on like passing universal background checks for gun sales is because members of Congress are bought off by special interests. So I will be a consistent voice always asking who's behind what piece of legislation and why. Second, tackling the climate crisis, we've talked a little bit about it so far, but really the effects are being felt here in San Diego. And it's important that we address the number one threat to our national security, which is climate
Speaker 3: 01:39 neat Democrats [inaudible] her approach, listen to everyone, take the best ideas, do the work. She did that at Obama state department.
Speaker 2: 01:47 Jacob's unsuccessfully ran for the 49th congressional seat in 2016. She's also worked as an advocate to end childhood poverty. Here are the issue. She says voters in the district care most about.
Speaker 5: 01:56 One is climate change and the urgent threat that it poses, uh, especially from young people who are very concerned about the world that they're going to be living in. Another is gun violence. I can't tell you how many young people and parents I've talked to who are so afraid to send their kids to school every single day. And then of course, we know here in San Diego we have a crisis of the cost of living, um, both in housing and in healthcare
Speaker 2: 02:20 if elected. Jacob says she'll take a leadership role in shaping the nation's foreign policy,
Speaker 5: 02:25 really looking at how we can make sure that we are making the world more peaceful and keeping American safe. And I think there's a way to do that without getting us into endless Wars without us being the world's policemen. Another issue, uh, that we hear a lot from voters and that I'm very passionate about is affordable childcare. I think we need to set a national goal that no family pays more than 10% of their income on childcare.
Speaker 3: 02:48 I'm on it. I haven't taken it and they have character.
Speaker 2: 02:51 One of the few Republican candidates in the race is famela Ramos who recently lost a bid for a school board seat in Chula Vista. She's worked as a nurse and the hospitality industry. These are the issues she says voters are talking to her about
Speaker 5: 03:03 bread and butter issues, jobs, taxes, things like that. Family, family values. I think, you know, I feel in this district that I'm underrepresented, especially in family values.
Speaker 2: 03:15 She has a number of priorities. If elected,
Speaker 5: 03:17 I want to address immigration, border security, healthcare and education. I really think the health, um, third party should be left out of the decision making process. It should be like patient doctor interaction. I think we should base healthcare costs on the free market. I think prices should be transparent.
Speaker 6: 03:35 I will never forget the issues that people are live every single day because that's what I come from.
Speaker 2: 03:41 Democratic candidate, Georgette Gomez is currently the San Diego city council president. She's grabbed endorsements from the state, democratic party and labor and healthcare unions. Here are the issues. She says voters want her to fight for
Speaker 6: 03:52 housing. Affordability is a major issue. Education, access to better education. Job safety is important. Um, we do have a district that is a majority working class district.
Speaker 2: 04:05 Gomez priorities include helping people get into a home they can actually afford.
Speaker 6: 04:09 The resources that we get from our, from a department of housing is not enough. Uh, we have a section eight list waiting lists that is over 10 years. So we need to reform that. We need to ensure that we're prioritizing climate, that the cities are moving forward with their climate action plan. That's going to take resources.
Speaker 2: 04:28 The 53rd is one of the bluest districts in San Diego County with Democrats outnumbering Republicans by about a two to one margin. KPBS reporter Matt Hoffman joins me now. Matt, welcome. Hey Jay. So let's start with the latest major headline out of this race. Georgette Gomez was endorsed by a democratic presidential candidate, Bernie Sanders. What else can you tell us about the significance of this endorsement? Right. I mean, obviously Bernie Sanders, a very high profile presidential candidate has a very large following even here in San Diego. I mean, we've seen him, uh, over the last, you know, two, three years. He's had a number of rallies here downtown near the waterfront, attracting a lot of people. Um, he did endorse Georgette Gomez, part of like, you know, about half a dozen endorsements, uh, across the United States for Congress. Uh, obviously a very big deal. He has a lot of followers. So what we'll see if it helps a Georgia in this race, there are more than a dozen candidates who qualified for the ballot in this race.
Speaker 2: 05:17 And you've introduced us to the leading candidates, but is there a clear front runner in the race? Right. Obviously. So Susan Davis has held the CSUN 2001, so almost 20 years. Uh, when this opened up, like you said, more than a dozen candidates, there's going to be 15 on the ballot. One of them has dropped out when we talk about a clear front runner, uh, talking to a lot of the candidates, obviously there's some that have, you know, quote unquote name recognition. You have, uh, from the Jacobs family, Sarah Jacobs, you have Georgia Gomez current San Diego city council president. Um, even for Mel Ramos who ran for school board in Chulavista got about 30,000 votes. She didn't win. Um, but they, they feel like that there's not a whole lot of name recognition out there. So we're starting to see a lot of candidates, uh, put out ads. Sarah Jacobs putting out a lot of TV ads already so early, uh, just trying to get her name out there, trying to get her face out there.
Speaker 2: 06:02 Um, so we talked about a clear front runner. Um, I think, I mean, talking to some of the candidates, they would say that they're the clear front runner, but it doesn't appear that there's a hard and fast clear front runner. I mean, Georgia Gomez, um, I guess you could call more of an establishment candidate has gotten a lot of endorsements obviously from the state democratic party, the County democratic party. Um, she's raising a lot of money. Sarah Jacobs is raising a lot of money. There's actually a fundraising deadline coming up, so we should know a lot more about that, um, at the end of the month as a fundraising deadline. So we'll see. Um, how much money these candidates are really pulling in and maybe get a better picture of who's the front runner. So how are these candidates reaching out to voters? Talking to at least these top four candidates?
Speaker 2: 06:36 A lot of them, they say they're out there hitting the ground, knocking on doors. Uh, they want to talk to people and they want to reach across the aisle to, obviously there are, is a majority Republican or student or majority democratic district. Um, but they want to reach out to Republicans, lots of mailers going out. And then obviously like I said, you know, candidates are out there trying to get their name out there, trying to get their face out there. Sarah Jacobs launching a lot of TV as a barrage of TV ads early on here. Uh, trying to really get her her name out there. And then there's been a number of forums held by progressive groups, uh, where they, I mean, just last weekend they had a forum with 11 candidates in it. So a lot of stuff going on. Tell us more about Republican famila Ramos.
Speaker 2: 07:12 What's your experience? Her experience? She is a, she was a registered nurse before this. Um, and uh, she, out of the three were registered Republicans who are running. She has raised the most money, um, as Everlast filing a little over $40,000 for this race as a little bit of experience running. Like I said, she ran for a school board seat in Chulavista, got about 30,000 votes. So she thinks she has some name recognition. Part of this district covers Chulavista. Um, obviously it is a heavy, um, democratic district. But like for example to three at the top three, I mean, if, you know, presume top three were saying Georgette Gomez, Sarah Jacobs, Janessa gold Beck. If they were to split the vote, then hypothetically a Republican could get in there and maybe a win in the primary. Okay. So that's her. But you know, among the Democrats, are there any major differences between them in terms of policy proposals?
Speaker 2: 08:00 How do they differ? Right. You know, doing these interviews with these top four presumed top four candidates, we hear a lot of the same things. You know, making housing more affordable, getting people into a home, they can afford climate change, addressing the issue of climate change, the issue of gun violence. Uh, then you have some of the candidates, you know, taking on some of their own issues. Um, uh, Sarah Jacobs has always been an advocate for child poverty. You know, she says the parents here in San Diego are spending too much on childcare. She wants to change that. Uh, you have people like Georgette Gomez, former chair of the MTS board here in San Diego. Uh, transit's a big priority for her. She wants to go and bring transit dollars here to San Diego in addition, excuse me, in addition to housing dollars. Then you have people like Ramos who a much more traditional Republican, you know, she talked about enhancing border security, um, you know, privatizing the healthcare market.
Speaker 2: 08:46 So there are some differences, especially when you go from, uh, the Democrats or the Republicans. Congresswoman Susan Davis has been recognized for her work with veterans and on the armed services committee. Are any of the candidates speaking about the issues facing the military community? Definitely Janessa gold BEC. Uh, she's a former Marine. She actually just left the Marine Corps last August, so freshly out. Um, she definitely recognizes, especially when we were talking when it comes to housing, um, how hard it is for veterans to be able to buy a house here. Um, and so she knows as a veteran, um, the, the issues that are on a service member's mind, so she's going to take that to Washington, didn't hear a whole lot from the other candidates. Candidates when we asked them about their priorities are really a whole lot about veterans. And you said there's, there's been a lot of interest in this race since Davis announced her plans to retire last year as Susan Davis endorsed any of these candidates. You know, as far as I can tell, she hasn't endorsed any of the candidates talking to them. It's unclear if she will, but it is something we're going to follow. Um, I do want to point out too that I know I mentioned a couple of times at this district is heavily democratic. Um, it's about a two to one margin. Uh, about 180,000 registered, um, uh, Democrats and then about 90,000 registered Republicans with a handful of independent voters too. I've been speaking with KPBS reporter, Matt Hoffman. Matt. Thank you. Thanks Jared.
Speaker 1: 00:01 The films tackle some of the most troublesome problems on earth, yet they can inspire surprise and even delight. Celebrating its 10th year at the museum of photographic arts. The human rights film watch festival begins this week. This year the films handled topics including LGBTQ rights, immigration, racial injustice, democracy, and journalistic integrity. The festival will kick off with the award winning film, gay course, deep South, which won the Tribeca audience award documentary in 2019 each film screening will be followed by an audience Q and a to discuss the social issues depicted midday edition. Cohost Maureen Kavanaugh has a preview of this year's festival. She spoke with Kevin Lindy, manager of adult and digital engagement at the museum of photographic arts with a preview of this year's festival. In the past, the film festival has put a spotlight on stories about human rights violations taking place all over the world. But this year's theme is more uplifting. It's focusing on change makers. Why is that important this year?
Speaker 2: 01:04 We think that's critical because the films offer this unique window into human rights violations and human rights issues globally. Um, however, we realize that it's important to be able to provide opportunities for, uh, anyone to be able to get involved with these issues, right? Um, on whatever level that they're comfortable getting involved. And that could be the super local within their neighborhood. It could be at a state level or a city level. Um, and going all the way up to some of these issues that are really international in scope. So we like to think about screening these films is just the start of a conversation. Then continuing that conversation with everybody who's in attendance and again, providing opportunities for people to get involved in all of these different ways around these issues. These films reflect that change maker theme. The changemaker theme is really reflected in the fact that each of these films focuses on a key protagonist or organization, which is working to enact change around these issues. So you're opening the festival this year with the film gay chorus deep South. Let's hear a clip from the trailer and then talk a little bit about it. When the election happened, our board chair said, why don't we go to the South?
Speaker 1: 02:17 The gay men's chorus in San Francisco. We're going around to cities all around the South promoting unity and peace.
Speaker 2: 02:24 I would have never thought to go back home.
Speaker 1: 02:27 So that was a clip from gay chorus deep South. And it's about as, as the people say, gay men's chorus in San Francisco going to tour the American South. They did that right after the 2016 election. Why did you want to open
Speaker 2: 02:40 Ben with this film? We decided to open with this film because it really highlights something that is at the top of all of our minds, uh, coming into an election year, uh, here in the United States. Um, and to see how the gay men's choir of San Francisco use the vehicle of music in order to start a dialogue and start a conversation around some of these really difficult topics, specifically in the, in the American South. Um, it really spoke to the spirit of the festival, um, where we feel that films are an entry point or a vehicle for people to be able to understand these issues more deeply, uh, and also realize how they can play a role in effecting change. When you saw this film, did you see a change maker? I did. Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. The power of being able to, um, go into a community, um, or communities, um, that you're not necessarily familiar with, but trying to find a commonality and find that bridge. And that bridge in this movie is music, uh, in the power of music to transform another film is Bellingcat truth in a post truth world. We also have a clip from that movie,
Speaker 3: 03:53 doesn't speak a word of Arabic, and he conducts his profound research from the content of his armchair and his home. I'd like to, I'd like to talk about a very new way of investigating the way citizen journalism investigations are trusted, is different than professional journalists. Don't believe me. Here's the evidence.
Speaker 2: 04:20 What is this film about? So this film Chronicles the story of Bellingcat, uh, which is a volunteer run organization of what they consider truth seekers. Uh, so these are individuals who collectively work, um, in a way that may seem a bit outside of the mainstream of journalism and investigative reporting. Uh, but they do so in an attempt or in an effort to, uh, get at the root of some of the truths behind these issues that they're investigating. And they do. So using technologies that really have only come about in the last 10, 15, 20 years. Uh, so anywhere from cross-referencing social media feeds to YouTube videos to, uh, first-person reports on the ground about particular issues. Um, they try to sort of cut ahead of official narratives, say through a particular government or entity, um, and get facts out there or to be able to collect facts and synthesize them in ways that then, uh, other organizations can take.
Speaker 2: 05:22 Take further steps. Now finally, closing the festival is the documentary true justice. Now it's the story about attorney Brian Stevenson and his work with incarcerated people in the South. And in fact, his story is also captured in the new film, just mercy, uh, nominated for an Academy award. What do you think a documentary might convey that that feature film can't? Yeah, absolutely. I think, um, the opportunity to see the real characters, the real people behind, um, Brian Stevens, uh, fight for equality, um, is, is a critical thing. How does the festival select the films that will be featured? That's a great question. We really consider it a collaborative effort between the human rights watch film festival, which is located in based in New York city and us here in San Diego at MOPA. Uh, the museum of photographic arts. Uh, we come together in the fall and we really look at what are some of these key issues that are playing out right now in the headlines, uh, both nationally and internationally.
Speaker 2: 06:22 Uh, and then we also try to keep an eye on topics that may also have a relevancy here in San Diego. So we like to choose things that, as I like to say, are both international and local in scope. This is the festivals 10th year in San Diego. What kind of impact do you think it's had on, on local audiences? We see a huge impact every year. I think it's really inspiring to see the attendees who come, who may be passionate about an issue and that's why they're attending, where they might not know very much about the issue, but they've heard about it in the news recently. Uh, and so there they come. And then they not only have this opportunity to see a film which provides such a personal window into the, uh, into the particular human rights, abuse and violation. But then they also see local leaders. They also see local activists and organizers who are working deeply in this field. And getting that local relevancy, I think is really critical because again, it empowers the audience to see how they can play a part in making change. That was Kevin Lindy with the museum of photographic arts, speaking with midday edition cohost Marine cabinet about the 2020 human rights watch film festival taking place tonight through Sunday.
On the final day of questions and answers, one Republican senator tried to expose the whistleblower who started the impeachment probe but was denied. Plus, on its one year anniversary, immigrant advocates are calling for an end to the “Remain in Mexico” program, which has sent more than 60,000 Central American asylum-seekers back to Mexico. Also, meet the candidates running to replace Congresswoman Susan Davis, who announced her retirement last year. And, from the Midday Edition archives, we hear from a woman who says forest bathing saved her life. Now she’s teaching others about the benefits of being out in nature. Finally, the Human Rights Watch Film Festival returns to San Diego for its 10th year. Some of this year’s films tackle topics including LGBTQ rights, immigration, racial injustice, democracy and journalistic integrity.